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  2.5. The Technology Adoption Life Cycle (3 min.)

In the spirit of our brief discussion of innovation, it is essential to understand, from an industry-level perspective, how innovations are adopted. From a 30,000-foot view, the most well-known explanation comes from the early work of Everett Rogers and his study of Iowa corn farmers. Rogers, studying the spread of a new invention—hybrid corn seeds—among farmers, found that the spread of that innovation followed a pattern which he described using a bell curve, segmented into different groups who shared similar characteristics in the technology-adoption process.


Rogers found that innovators and early adopters implemented the new seed technology very early and with fairly little evidence of its value, whereas other groups, such as the early and late majorities, waited until the seeds were proven and they felt comfortable that they were safe in adopting the new seeds. These later groups waited because they had a very different set of requirements to adopt a new technology than did the early adopters—the vast majority of users wanted to feel safe that adopting the new innovation would be beneficial and that the source of the innovation was legitimate.

(See Nail It Then Scale It, pgs. 31-33)